I’ve been doing a lot of pondering and evaluating during these first few days of the year- thinking about what’s important to me, and what’t not a big deal; patterns I value in our life and patterns that need to change.
This month I’ve been reading a lot about grace and perfection, jotting in my planner what works and what isn’t working, and even working through a three-week Freedom Moms Challenge in an effort to grow as a woman, wife, and mom.
In all of this thinking and prioritizing and reading, I realized something:
Every woman has her “list” of issues, and things that just aren’t a big deal.
I definitely have that “list” in my personal life- I will never go in public looking unkept, but I’m not a stickler about my vehicle being perfect all the time.
And I have a “list” as a mom too.
For instance, when my kids were little, I really didn’t care if they jumped on the bed. Because, who cares? But they had better not climb or jump on the couch!
I asked my kids what they felt like were my top “important things,” and things that were just non-issues.
Their responses were intriguing, to say the least.
My “important things” will be a post for another time. For today-
Here are five things my kids told me that I just don’t make a big deal about.
By the way, these aren’t things that I don’t make a big deal about unless I get mad, or unless I’m having a day when I feel like I need to crack down on everyone.
These are truly non-issues. My kids know that these are areas where they have jurisdiction or preference, or areas their Dad and I have agreed are generally “green lights.”
It’s important for kids to know what ARE and ARE NOT “issues,” and why.
I encourage you to come up with your own list like this. Because-
Everything cannot be a big deal.
Make sure you’re making issues out of things that are actually issues.
And, it goes without saying, your “non-issues” list will look differently from mine.
Here is my kids’ list of mine and Jeremy’s parenting non-issues- and my footnotes on each.
“We don’t have to get up early every morning.”
This one comes from my sixteen-year old, who, very likely, needs more sleep than the rest of us right now.
Amy added, “Getting up early is good. But if we need to sleep in, we can.”
My own personal preference is to get up around six a.m. and start the day with time for reading, planning, and getting ready for the day.
But I do let my kids sleep in; “in” being eight-thirty on some days, ten o’clock or later on others.
My reasoning for this is two-fold:
Babies, toddlers, and teens, especially, need a lot of sleep. Since our family enjoys the luxury of home-educating, why would I get them out of bed at day-break? What’s the rush?
Secondly, we are a ministry family, which means we have late-nights- because of church- several nights a week. Sleeping in a few days a week is a very necessary part of my kids being able to get enough rest.
Early rising is an adult discipline, and one that kids eventually have to grow into.
So, let them be little. Let them sleep while they can.
“Mom doesn’t make us make our beds.”
All five of my kids were unanimous about this point: Mom doesn’t care if we make our beds every morning or not.
Guilty, as charged.
I typically make my bed.
One of my kids does habitually make her bed.
But I don’t push the issue because, honestly, who cares?
My kids also noted, “Keeping our rooms perfectly clean isn’t a big deal. We clean them, and they get messy, and we clean them again. Mom is okay with that.”
This mama has come a long way, Baby.
“It’s not a big deal that we get our school work done in a certain amount of time.”
This one is from my nine-year old son, Colton. He’s a bit of a perfectionist, so I guess he appreciates the space he has to work through his daily assignments.
I’m really not a stickler for when my kids start school, or when exactly they finish school work for the day– except that we always begin in the morning, after breakfast, and we wrap it up in the afternoon.
Then there are those occasional “off” days when we have a field trip, family day, or one of the kids spends the day working with Jeremy.
We always get our school work done. But we use time, and not the other way around.
No two days in our week is exactly the same; we have rhythms in our household that are the same, but not exact routines that are driven by the clock.
We work hard until we’re done, and then we play hard or rest hard.
Life takes time.
Relationships take time.
Learning takes time.
“Mom lets us do sleepovers.”
Thirteen-year old Emily chimed in with this one.
“We’re allowed to spend time with our friends, including having or going to sleepovers.”
This is an area I struggled with as a younger mom, since I personally had some bad experiences with sleepovers as a kid.
My husband, Jeremy, had a very different experience growing up; he spent entire summers with his grandparents, and regularly spent the night at his best friend’s house.
We ended up arriving at a compromise: our kids may spend the night with a few, very trusted friends and family members, and they may invite guests over who are allowed to spend the night.
This works for us.
“Mom lets us draw or doodle in church.”
I’m not a stickler for perfect behavior. Not even in church. Not even because my kids’ dad is the pastor.
My children are not made of wood, and I don’t expect them to sit like soldiers in church- we spend way too many hours at church for that to be practical!
I’ve always let my kids take notebooks, coloring books, or drawing pads to church. (When they were little, they had snacks and sippy cups, too.)
The point is to help them sit quietly and listen.
At least two of my kids are highly kinesthetic learners; I’m always amazed at what they learn while they are moving- or drawing.
The younger kids doodle, draw, and color during their dad’s sermon, and I’m okay with that.
The older kids draw or take notes, and I’m okay with that too.
We have several sets of Busy Books Sermon Notes, by Darlene Schacht, and my nine-and-twelve-year old boys do enjoy these.
The honest truth: I really don’t worry if my kids are taking notes on the sermon, or drawing pictures of dragons.
As long as my kids choose a respectful attitude at church, I’m good.
My issue here really is relational and heart centered- are they learning to love God? are they connecting with believers who can love them well? are they taking care of the pew we sit on? showing respect to peers and adults?
Those are my issues at church, not necessarily if the six, nine, eleven, thirteen, and sixteen-year old sit with hands folded.
“Who cares if the socks match?”
Okay, I added this one to the list myself.
Apparently, my kids have no idea how much of my inner perfectionist had to die in order for me to not care about this one!
But seriously- it doesn’t bother me a twit when my one of my boys- or my teenage daughter, for that matter- shows up in the world wearing mismatched socks.
Which they do often, by the way.
What bothers me is when my six-year old pulls up his pant leg at church and reveals one of his socks, and one of mine. Yeah, that does make me cringe a little.
Enough, at least, to break out the basket of mismatched socks and get to work. *wink*
By the way, these Little Miss Mismatched Socks are a life-saver if your girl just can’t keep her socks matched.
Sorry, I don’t have any rescues for the boys!
Now, if you’re new to this blog or you don’t know me personally, you might be thinking that I must be one relaxed, Type B Mama.
NOTHING could be further from the truth.
But I’ve learned that everything isn’t in or out, right or wrong, bad or good, do or don’t…
And, most importantly, I’ve learned that hearts are infinitely more important than performance– or other people’s opinion about my kids and their mama.
Truthfully, a lot of things matter to me. A lot.
I tend to be a black-and-white thinker, and a mom who makes a big deal out of everything.
The fact that anything made it on this list is a work of grace in my life.
Next week, I’ll share what made the “important issues” list.
For now, what would make this list for you?
What’s really not an issue in your world?
Again, I encourage you- if you haven’t thought this through before, or if you don’t really have any “non-issues,” give it some thought!
Life is so much more enjoyable when you can occasionally throw your hands in the air and say, Good thing that’s a non-issue in my world!
Here’s to living & loving well-